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UAE to train specialist drug counsellors to treat rising number of abuse cases

The UAE is to build the region’s first centre for training health professionals to treat drug addiction. The National Rehabilitation Centre Training Institute will provide internationally recognised programmes for psychiatrists, social workers and other carers in treating long-term substance abuse.

“The institute has been approved by the government and we are building up the capabilities,” said Dr Hamad Al Ghaferi, director general of the centre. The announcement was made on the first day of an international conference in Abu Dhabi aimed at improving regional collaboration in the fight against drug abuse. The three-day event, organised by the World Health Organisation and the centre, will establish a public health framework to ensure a more co-ordinated response.

Dr Al Ghaferi said the new institute would take a lead in providing the best available training for those working in rehabilitation. He said the courses would be accredited by the UAE and international bodies including the WHO, the International Society of Addiction Medicine and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. “We are looking at methods of training, the manpower required, and possible collaborations with training facilities and institutes inside and outside of the country,” said Dr Ali Al Marzooqi, research director at the centre. “We’ll only need a few employees to run the administrative side of the institute. We won’t need to increase our budget.”